Cape Town - The EP Kings stood firm in the closing stages to claim a 19-14 (halftime 13-7) victory over the Vodacom Blue Bulls in their new provincial tournament rugby fixture at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, on Saturday.
Both teams had much to play for leading into the game have only chalked up one win each in their respective campaigns to date.
Eastern Province drew first blood as early as the fifth minute as flyhalf Garrick Mattheus slotted a penalty from distance.
The Bulls spent time settling down but they were sparked into action by a fine individualistic try by their flyhalf Joshua Stander who started his attack on the Kings 10 metre line, kicked ahead and then picked up the ball to scored under the uprights. He kicked his own conversion.
The Kings closed to deficit to a point after 26 minutes with second Mattheus penalty.
The home side then regained the lead in the 31st minute as loosehead prop Liam Hendricks crashed over for a try after receiving an inside pass from tighthead prop Louis Albertse. Mattheus added the two points.
The Kings started well after the break and forced two penalties out of the Bulls that Mattheus calmly slotted to see the home side leading 19-7.
However, the Bulls bounced back and after sustained pressure replacement prop Dean Greyling forced his way over from close out. Stander kicked the conversion.
The match closed out with the Bulls exerting tremendous pressure on the Kings’ tryline. But the home team stood firm to claim the win.
EP Kings – Tries: Liam Hendricks; Conversions: Garrick Mattheus; Penalties: Garrick Mattheus (4)
Blue Bulls – Tries: Joshua Stander, Dean Greyling; Conversions: Joshua Stander (2)